Friday, August 7, 2015

Seed to Table Series-Pineapple

Welcome to our Summer Series,
Seed to Table.
Every Friday, we'll explore a different crop
that you can grow in your own garden.
Whether you're in mid-harvest, already looking ahead to your fall garden,
 or just thinking about growing your own,
we hope this series inspires you.
We'll begin with planting from seed or seedling,
and end up with a scratch recipe. 


Pineapples are one of the easiest plants to grow.
Even in cooler climates,
these crops can be grown without much fuss.
They are virtually maintanence-free after the initial planting.
They have a dramatic presence in the garden and get quite large.
Given space to grow, adequate water and lots of sunshine,
they will thrive for years to come.

Here's how to get started with this luscious fruit.

The top of a pineapple was simply lopped off
and air dried for a few days.
If you don't have your own to use,
purchase one from the grocery store.
We buy only the "gold" variety,
and organic if we can find it.
The entire crown gets planted under the soil,
so that the spiky leaves are reaching for the sky.

It takes two years before the first fruit will appear.
It's nothing short of a miracle
when you notice this protuberance peeking out of the top of the plant.
You know you're on the right track.

It grows pretty quickly, depending on how much water it gets.
It transforms from a brown porcupine-like creature
with bright pink or purple flowers...

to a green egg-shaped orb.
The fruit grows up right out of the center stalk.
When it gets to be a golden orange color,
it's ready for harvest.
Simply twist it until it comes off in your hands.
The plant will continue to produce fruit for years.


If you've never had home-grown,
you'll think you've died and gone to heaven.
There is nothing that tastes quite so pure.
It doesn't last long around our place.
Fresh pineapple tastes as sweet as candy,
without the guilt.
The best part is that once you've eaten the fruit,
you've got another top to plant!
The bounty just keeps on a-comin'!

If you can keep yourself from devouring every morsel as soon as you pick it,
you might want to try it grilled.
Here's a simple Ina Garten recipe that looks mighty good!
(What does she make that doesn't?)

Grilled Pineapple
Ina Garten
1 large ripe golden pineapple, peeled, 
cored and cut into 8 to 10 wedges
Good olive oil
1/4 cup honey

Prepare a charcoal grill with a single layer of hot coals. 
You can also use a grill pan on the stove top.
Brush the pineapple wedges lightly with the oil 
and place them on the grill. 
Cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side until lightly colored. 
Remove to a serving plate and drizzle with honey.

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